||Smith Creek Lakes
Smith Creek Lakes is an ATV-track trail from Francis Peak
(above Farmington) to three small glacial cirque lakes. The trail lies at
high altitude (over 9000 feet) and has a few semi-stiff climbs, so despite
its short length it's fairly strenuous. In spots, the track is torn up by
ATVs, with loose dirt and big rock chunks, requiring upper-intermediate
skills. Early-intermediates will do fine by walking a few short rough
This is a beautiful ride with high WOW factor. For those wanting a bit
more of a workout, pedal up the gravel Francis Peak road to reach the
View over the last -- and largest --
of the three Smith Creek Lakes. Photos by Bruce,
July 24, 2003.
|If started at Francis Peak, the ride is 3.2 miles each way. The trail rises over ridges then falls into the cirque basin of each lake.
Overall, the trail loses about 600 feet descending to the last lake. Total climbing
(round trip) will be about 900 feet.
On the ridgeline, looking at the radar
domes at the apex of Francis Peak.
|Many riders include a portion of the Francis Peak road as part of the
ride. Starting from the fork near Farmington Flats, add 4.5 miles (one
way) and 2200 vertical feet. From the trailhead in the foothills, add 12.3
miles and 4700 vertical, for a round trip of 31 miles!
||The scenery is the star of this ride. You cruise below
outcrops of dark precambrian metamorphic rock, through meadows broken by
patches of fir and spruce. In general, keep straight at intersections. ATV
cheater routes short-change several of the switchbacks.
View of the "spine of the Wasatch" as we drop down
switchbacks through the trees.
|Hillclimb from Farmington (4800
Park on the left just after road turns uphill
N 40° 59.808' W 111° 53.060'
0.5 Keep straight, Bench Road on R
N 40° 60.000' W 111° 52.750'
1.3 Road turns to dirt, parking on R
5.0 Campground (bathrooms)
7.8 Straight (L) N 40° 59.235' W 111° 47.986'
8.6 Straight past maintenance shed
Stay on main road
12.3 Francis Peak gate
N 41° 01.650' W 111° 50.279'
Trail is northbound DT right of
The main trail stays on the slope above the lakes. A second
route dips down to each lake.
||Riding Notes, Smith Creek Lakes
0.0 ATV track to right of gate
0.6 Straight (R goes to view)
N 41° 02.184' W 111° 10.162'
1.1 Fork R (L = Great Western)
N 41° 02.493' W 111° 50.303'
1.2 Straight (R down to primitive camp)
N 41° 02.615' W 111° 50.259'
1.4 Straight and down switchbacks
2.0 First lake
3.2 Last lake
N 41° 03.387' W 111° 50.483'
track continues 0.3 miles
to flat for primitive camping
View of the first lake shows the trail
curving around the bowl above. These lakes were formed by the gouging
action of heavy glacial ice.
|Getting there: Exit I-15 in
Farmington. Get to the corner of 600 North and 100 East. (The most direct
route there was blocked by construction at the time of my visit 7/03.)
Turn north (left if you're going up the hill) on 100 East. Keep right at
the fork. Park on the left just past the fork (trail information sign) GPS
N 40° 59.808' W 111° 53.060'. Alternative parking is found at the end of
the pavement 1 mile up the canyon. To ride from the upper road fork, drive
up the canyon 7 miles and park to left of the fork N 40° 59.235' W 111° 47.986'.
An alternative route is found about 1/2 mile before the
peak (mile 4.0 from the road fork). Take the ATV trail on the right side
of the road at N 41° 01.283' W 111° 50.183' and pedal 1/2 mile uphill to
Thanks to Matt C. for suggesting this trail!